Welcome Mako Irisumi, our summer research assistant!

Meros is geared up and ready for our new summer research assistant Mako Irisumi. Welcome!

Mako is an undergraduate student at Wellesley College in the US, with a major in Computer Science and also a student researcher this past year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) D-Lab. She previously interned with the Japanese development consulting company Padeco on an infrastructure project in Romania. Mako is a Tokyo native but has been studying in the US since high school.

Meros is extremely busy right now and Mako has been able to jump right into projects and support our current work. She has been researching the sustainability goals of global start-ups related to regenerative agriculture and as well as supporting the kick-off of a new project with Hokkaido University and the Japan International Cooperation Agency that will focus on cassava and carbon markets in Vietnam.

Mako was an obvious fit for Meros. “I am strongly inspired by Meros’s global contributions to the food and agriculture sector, especially in agri-tech, and its diverse team. As a student researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) D-Lab, I conducted research on passive solar desalination to address water sanitation challenges in Madagascar last year. Our fieldwork in Madagascar for three weeks in January allowed me to witness firsthand realities of global poverty, especially food insecurity issues, fueling my desire to solve food insecurity worldwide. I also enjoyed collaborating with diverse teammates and engaging in global collaboration. Additionally, as a computer science major, I was very curious about how to solve this food insecurity issue from an agri-tech perspective. Therefore, Meros’s international impact in the agri-tech sector and its diverse team and clients align perfectly with my passion.”

Mako will be working on an independent research project that combines her interest in technology and economic development, by looking at Japan’s Rural 5G initiative that is exploring ways to bring 5G telecommunications to rural and agricultural communities in Japan. This will allow her dig into the various financing models for rural infrastructure, the benefits 5G can bring to farmers, the level of demand among farmers and the potential technologies that it may allow.

“This fall, I hope to improve my research skills. In addition to desktop research, I am excited to develop my abilities in conducting interviews and field research. Learning from experienced team members at Meros will be an invaluable opportunity for my professional growth.”

Like the rest of the Meros team Mako loves discovering new foods. “I love exploring new restaurants and have around 20 saved on my Google Maps just in the Meros neighborhood alone. I particularly love fish, especially mackerel (saba), as it is delicious whether grilled, stewed, or served as sushi.”

A festive fall welcome to our newest research assistant Sachika Onaka Adcock!

A big welcome to our newest full-time fall research assistant, Sachika Onaka Adcock!

Sachika is a recent graduate of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia where she studied Physiology and Earth Sciences. Sachika spent her childhood between Australia and Himeji in the western area of Japan and is ready to start her career off in Tokyo. Sachika finished a summer internship in a government relations consulting and has now jumped into Meros projects, including supporting a client register a Japanese product under the organic materials certification system in the US, kick off a new project on plant breeder rights for the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and visit a variety of Tokyo spirits shops to documents the current range of whiskeys and gins available in Japan for an EU client..

Our team loves her curiosity about both global markets and food systems and the environment – the perfect mix for success at Meros. “When I first came across Meros’ website I instantly became interested specifically at how diverse the case studies were.  What drew me to reach out and apply for the internship position was because I felt like my science background, and interest in international affairs could be engaged and challenged through this experience.”

“Because I majored in physiology at university and took a minor in Earth Science, I had studied issues involved peripherally with food and agriculture. Specifically, I looked at food and nutrition in relation to human health along with soil science and challenges facing the agricultural sector due to climate change. The global food chain and ecosystem has been getting heightened media coverage, and I felt that working at Meros would be a valuable experience to not only learn new concepts, but also tangible skills.”

“Within the very first week I realized just how much change and innovation is occurring within the food and agriculture sector. I am excited to learn more about such diverse and various topics during my time at Meros, including regulations and policies of different governments surrounding the food and agriculture especially as it relates to new and emerging agrifood technologies.”

In addition to our ongoing Meros projects Sachika plans to use her independent research project on the Japanese apple value chain to dig deeper into topics of particular interest.

“I hope to be involved in projects related to soil science and am looking forward to understanding the different processes involved in the production of apples, through my independent project. I hope to answer or partially answer a question I have had ever since I was young, traveling between Japan and Australia – Why is fruit in Japan more expensive?  I plan to look at the journey of apples from the farm to retail and where in the chain there may be potential for a decrease in food waste and greater efficiency.”

“I’m curious about delving into the complex and intriguing world of food and agriculture and discovering just how intertwined it is with all industries. Already during these first few weeks at Meros I have realized that it’s so much more complex than I had thought!”

Sachika has a busy fall planned. “Outside of work, I enjoy reading, watching travel vlogs and café-hopping around Tokyo. I hope to explore more of Japan, especially the Kanto region around Tokyo and the northern Tohoku regions, which I have never had much of a chance to visit.”

Come join Meros at the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit, Singapore, October 31- Nov 2, 2023

We are incredibly pleased to be partnering with the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit in Singapore, to be held October 31 – Nov 2, 2023. Our goal is help bring more perspectives and voices from Japan’s food and agriculture innovation scene into the lively debates in Singapore.

Join us there! We’ll be happy to introduce you to people we know or navigate all the events going on.

Meros has been attending this event every year since it started. It has become one of our favorite events in the region, because unlike a basic conference or expo, this summit emphasizes learning, debating and presenting on solutions to the most pressing issues facing our industry. It is a chance to ask questions. A chance to connect with potential partners. A chance to hear from the world’s leading agribusinesses, food brands, growers, entrepreneurs, and investors to discuss how technology and investment can be targeted to have the greatest impact on the agri-food value chain in the Asia-Pacific region.

We have seen a growing number of Japanese companies attending the Summit in the last few years. But we still feel there are so many perspectives and experiences from Japan’s agri-food and technology scenes that would valuable additions to the debates, from Japanese food industry innovations to seaweed farming and aquaculture to biostimulants and soil health.

This year’s event will cover agri-food tech, indoor agriculture and blue economy (aquaculture and ocean-based businesses). Key topics for 2023 include:

  • Decarbonisation: Carbon Footprint, Carbon Markets and Climate Mitigation in Agriculture
  • Food Security: Addressing Supply Chain Disruptions and Building Resilience
  • Digital Transformation: De-Risking Smallholder Farming with Agri-Tech and Agri-Fintech
  • Soil Health: Ensuring a Stable Supply of Biological Crop Protection and Nutrition
  • CEA Resource Efficiency: Driving Technology and Policy Innovation for Energy Resilience
  • Indoor Farming Genetics: Expanding the Supply Chain for Genetically Optimised Seeds
  • Nutrition and Health: Health Aging, Clean-Label, and the Gut-Brain Axis
  • Future of Proteins in Asia: Animal,Plant-Based, Microbial & Cell-Based Proteins
  • Blue Food Production: Accelerating Digitisation and Circular Systems in Aquaculture
  • Scale-Up Finance: New Investment Models Supporting Agri-Tech and Food-Tech 
  • Strategic Partnerships: Building Bridges for a Food-Secure and Crisis-Proof Food System
  • Ecosystem Building: Connecting the Dots across the Asia-Pacific Region

The Summit offers many events occurring simultaneously, so it works for different people’s topics of interest and networking styles. There are panels and discussions led by thought-leaders and industry experts, who give real world examples and cutting-edge insights on technologies, trends and recent business successes and failures.

But the Summit also consciously engineers many opportunities for spontaneous meetings with new people – networking events, small round table discussions, 1-to-1 networking spaces, bottomless coffee, start-ups pitch events and lunches featuring new food products from attending start-ups and companies. It makes it easy to strike up conversations with new people, from start-ups, food brands and agribusinesses, investors and R&D departments.

Why Singapore? Singapore is rapidly becoming the APAC hub of the agrifood innovation eco-system, spurred by the Singapore government’s ambitious “30 by 30” vision, which aims for 30% of Singapore’s nutritional needs to be produced locally by 2030, up from less than 10% today. But Singapore is also creating a supportive environment for entrepreneurship and innovation in the space (Meros has been blow away by the start-ups we have met and mentored through the GROW accelerator program in Singapore.) And the city’s access to regional markets makes it an attractive launchpad for new business in the region.  In short, Singapore is where many of the most influential discussions and product launches are being made today.

Join us!

Use our code MEROS10 for an extra 10% off or get in touch with us to learn more about how this dynamic event works.